Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

When the UK actually gets some decent weather, you have every right to try and make the most of it. 2 days or 2 weeks, it’s a truly short window every year.

Now when the sun is out a BBQ is normally straight on everyone’s agenda. For everyone who owns a home this is no problem. For those who live in flats, you may be tempted to have on your balcony. But can you actually do it? Is it legal?

In this blog we’ll detail all you need to about having a barbecue on your balcony in the UK.

There are lots of products on the market giving you the opportunity to make the most of the summer weather without having to leave your apartment.  No matter how these are marketed they pose a serious fire hazard.

There are even some barbecue products are designed specifically to fit over the railings of your balcony. However, according to London Fire Brigade, these products should not be used.

Mark Hazelton, Community Safety Group Manager for London Fire Brigade, said:

“These products could prove to be dangerous and we’d urge people not to light barbecues on their balconies. Balconies are often enclosed and it’s easy for barbecues to get out of control and cause a fire which can then spread to other properties.

The Dangers of Having A BBQ Balcony

Everyone knows how dangerous fires are and every summer a balcony BBQ goes wrong. Almost every year Firefighters need to remind people of the dangers.  They have done this again in May 2020.

There have been more than 550 balcony fires across London in the last three years.

These types of fires are extremely dangerous. They can easily spread to neighbouring flats and can result in catastrophic damage.

LFB‘s Deputy Commissioner Richard Mills explains:

‘We understand people want to enjoy their outside space if they have it, especially at the moment while we are all spending more time at home, but please don’t think it won’t happen to you, because it can.

‘We are attending on average almost four fires on balconies every week, and that figure is likely to be much higher during warmer weather.’

The most heart-breaking example of this is Greenwich in 2016.

Residents in a flat on Victoria Parade had a barbecue on their balcony and then left the premises. The disposable barbecue was not completely out, it burned through and caught light to decking.

And as even as recent as May 2020  a barbecue caused a large blaze at a block of flats in Deptford, South East London. The barbecue was disposed of in a plastic bag and left on the balcony.

What is your balcony made of?

We don’t want to go into this too much but linked to the above was what materials have been used to build, and those that surround your balcony.

First and most obvious, is your balcony made of wood? This should go without saying, of course, but if you’re planning to BBQ on a wooden balcony then you’re planning a potential disaster.

BBQs produce heat and, more than likely, fire. Fire plus wood equals more fire. Too much fire, even.

Is It Actually Legal to Have A BBQ On Your Balcony?

There is nothing currently that states balcony BBQ’s are illegal.

Most leases prohibit the use of BBQs on balconies. Even if your lease doesn’t specifically prohibit BBQs, we would always advise against them due to the potential danger to you and other occupiers within the block, regardless of the type of construction of the balcony.

Our Thoughts

Balcony BBQs are an accident waiting to happen.  So, if you live in a flat, what should you do?

We would suggest that you find a public area where barbecues are permitted, or even better, take a picnic to your local park and make the most of the weather.

We asked one of our Senior Property Managers for his thoughts on having barbecues on the balcony.

‘While a barbecue on your balcony sounds like a good idea, it something we would recommend that you do not do.

The confines of a balcony and the enclosed space make it easy for it to get out of control.   There is also the impact on your neighbours to consider, how will they feel with smoke from your barbecue going in through their windows and doors?’

If you decide to have a balcony BBQ